I wondered if I could finely chop bits of used stainless steel
binding wire, & introduce them into the magnetic polishing
(which currently contains media resembling exactly that). I would
welcome your thoughts & input?
You could, of course, do it. How badly it would damage your work, I
can't predict. It would not duplicate the existing shot in function.
The existing shot is made from carefully hardened wire bits, that are
then also polished. You can do that in such a tumbler by tumbling the
shot with an abrasive polishing agent, just as you'd polish metal on
a buff. Run the shot with some form of slightly agressive rouge or
fine tripoli or the like suited to stainless, and then you'd at least
get shot that wouldn't scratch the heck out of your work (as it would
do if you just add clipped but unpolished wire bits. The shot needs
to act as little burnishers, so they need to be polished and smooth,
especially the ends. The next issue, though is how well it would work
compared to commercial shot. The stainless binding wire is annealed,
and dead soft, and generally an alloy that isn't intended for
hardening. Burnishing shot is made from hardened steel. there's a
very big difference in how well that works.
But there's no reason you couldn't try it. Especially if you're
burnishing very soft metals (annealed silver, for example), it might
work reasonably well, for a bunch less money. So as an experiment,
cut up a bunch of the wire. Add water, burnishing soap of your
choice, and something like alumina polishing powder. You can find
that sort of polishing material sold for lapidary work. I shouldn't
take a lot of the polish. Enough to turn the liquid a bit cloudy.
Run it for a few hours, and see if it looks about right. If so, rinse
off the polish, and try some test silver piece to see.
Or save yourself a bunch of time and buy the commercial polishing
shot. It's not that cheap, but it's no where near as costly as it
used to be when magnetic polishers were new and the shot had to be
imported from Europe...